because what is life without good food?

Posts tagged “Maple Syrup

Whipped Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream Cheese

Whipped Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream Cheese ~ click for the recipe on my NEW site!

I have blogged this delicious spread before, but I have decided it deserves its own post. After all, I’ve made it three times now, and everyone that has tasted it has raved about it … and I keep missing it when it’s gone and having to make more.

Whipped Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream Cheese ~ click for the recipe on my NEW site!

I hope you will zip over to my new site for the recipe … and while you are there, make sure to enter your email address in the right sidebar and click the “Get Recipes by Email” button. Eventually I won’t be posting over here anymore and I would really really hate to lose you …

Whipped Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream Cheese ~ click for the recipe on my NEW site!


Maple Spice Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

I’ve been dreaming of this granola for weeks it seems … dying to make it … looking for pumpkin seeds at the store. I thought about toasting up some out of one of these little pumpkins I have here, but I really wanted those lovely little crunchy green ones that you can get, not the big seeds you pull out of your pumpkin and roast.

I knew I saw some at the grocery store, but every time I went back, they were gone … FINALLY, this morning, I found some! Granola time, baby!

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

So I made this lovely granola with maple syrup and pumpkin puree, pumpkin spices, honey, dried cranberries and lots of fun seeds and nuts.

But  I’m sorry to say, you’re not going to find the recipe for this delicious holiday granola here …

Spiced Pumpkin Cranberry Granola

I’ve decided it’s time for my blog to have its own space … I think we’ve outgrown the capabilities of Free WordPress and we need to move on … sooo I moved everything over to www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com … yes, all of it, all the recipes, all your comments, everything! Tada! Isn’t that magic?

Please go over there to find the recipe for this granola (and ALL of my others!) and while you are there, I would really love it if you would click the link to follow me there. If I am can figure out a way to redirect all of you lovely people who already follow my blog, I will … and for a little while, I will post little ticklers here to remind you I’m hanging out over there now.

So what are you waiting for? Come hang out with me in my new home and get the recipe for this lovely Maple Spice Pumpkin Cranberry Granola!

Maple Spice Pumpkin Cranberry Granola ~ www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com


Pumpkin Apricot Oatmeal Pie

Pumpkin Apricot Oatmeal Pie

If you bake it in a pie pan, it’s a pie, right?

I am naming this a Pumpkin Apricot Oatmeal Pie to distinguish it from the mushy stuff you usually think of as oatmeal. Don’t get me wrong: I love a hot steamy bowl of oatmeal, but this definitely doesn’t have that soft mushy texture of stove top oatmeal. But then again, it’s not totally soft, moist and dense like a pumpkin pie either, and it has no crust. It’s not cakey either. I think most people would call it baked oatmeal, but really, it’s a cross between baked oatmeal and pumpkin pie. It is packed with dried fruit and has a slightly chewy texture to it. You could eat it for breakfast (because it’s totally healthy and packed full of fiber and  protein and vitamins and other good things), or you could add ice cream and a little drizzle of caramel and call it dessert.

This lovely “pie” was inspired by my sweet friend Ann at The Fountain Avenue Kitchen, who made Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal the other day. She always soaks her oatmeal for several hours before she bakes it. I keep meaning to try that method, wondering if it would change the texture, but I never seem to think ahead enough to do it. Maybe next time?

Pumpkin Apricot Oatmeal Pie

Pumpkin Apricot Oatmeal Pie

  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 Tablespoons rum (optional)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Stevia in the Raw or brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 1 cup lowfat milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Amaretto (optional)
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1 ripe banana, smashed (or grated apple would be wonderful too … )
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped into bits
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • For the top: 1/3 cup pecans + a Tablespoon or two of raw turbinado sugar

Directions:

  1. Soak the raisins in the rum for at least 15 minutes to get them nice and plump. If you don’t want to include the alcohol, you can use water with a little vanilla and/or rum extract to plump the raisins.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Mix all the other ingredients (except for the topping) in a mixing bowl until everything is well mixed. Add the rum-soaked raisins (with any residual rum).
  4. Spray a large pie pan with cooking spray and pour the pumpkin oatmeal mixture into it, spreading it evenly with a rubber spatula.
  5. Sprinkle the top of the pie with pecans and raw sugar. Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes or until the pie is set and golden brown on top.

To serve, you can cut in wedges and eat it warm, with no topping, or for a fancier dessert oatmeal pie, you can top it with light vanilla ice cream (or vanilla yogurt for an even healthier option!) and drizzle with a little warm caramel sauce. The warm oatmeal pie with the toasted pecans on top and cold ice cream melting into it is really a wonderful contrast, but most of the time I ate it just plain, no topping, because it’s quite nice just like that, with a cup of hot chai.

Pumpkin Apricot Oatmeal Pie

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridayShare it SaturdayScrumptious SundayWeekend Potluck, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Thursday’s Treasures and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Pumpkin Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Spread

My daughter, her friend and I went up to my friend’s lake house this weekend for a “girls” weekend. I wanted to bring along some fun “girly” things to eat, so I made up some chocolate mascarpone spread so we could make chocolate strawberry bruschetta, and while I was at it, I made a pumpkin maple spread too. But then I needed something to put the pumpkin spread on, so, despite the fact that it was a crazy busy day, on a total whim I started up some dough in my bread machine to make pumpkin cinnamon swirl bread. I wasn’t really sure that I would be home long enough on Saturday to bake it before we left, but somehow I managed it. And I was SO glad I did. This bread, with the pumpkin mascarpone spread is pure bliss to eat. You can just close your eyes and lose yourself in the lovely taste of it. My friend said she felt like she could just keep eating it till she exploded. I told her I wasn’t going to share that on my blog, but now here I am sharing it LOL. The young teenage girls loved it too.

We had such a fun weekend. We went for a LONG walk along the lake, then we had tea and hot chocolate and a lovely dinner … I made the salad, my daughter’s friend made cajun chicken pasta, my friend made green beans and we had rotisserie chicken and chicken sausages too, then we listened to funky music and my friend and I had wine and chatted while the girls danced their hearts out in the living room.

My friend who has three boys and has rarely (if ever?) had a girls weekend, wanted to take some of the bread home to her boys. I couldn’t let her have it ALL (my daughter wanted some!), but I did give her the smaller loaf to take home  … so the boys could try it too. I think she loved the girls weekend, but I could also tell she felt a little lost without her boys. I was craving some male energy too. Girls’ weekends are great, but … well, we need our boys, too. However, I do have to tell you my daughter and I were awfully tempted to buy this lakefront house we saw, move to the lake and leave our “city” life behind.

Yeah, that’s not going to happen. It is tempting, though …

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Spread

Pumpkin Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Adapted from King Arthur Flour. If you don’t have a bread machine or bread attachment for your mixer, see King Arthur Flour for traditional bread-making instructions.

  • 1 package (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup puréed pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • To make the swirl: Cooking spray (or melted butter) + cinnamon sugar

Directions:

  1. Dump all the ingredients except for the “Swirl” ingredients into your bread machine and set it on the dough setting.
  2. When the dough is ready, roll it out into a rectangle, spray with cooking spray, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and roll it up. (I rolled it up lengthwise, and the dough was long enough to make one loaf pan plus a smaller loaf.)
  3. Spray your loaf pans with cooking spray and carefully transfer the dough into them, tucking under the ends to form a nice loaf shape. Spray the loaves with cooking spray, cover with a clean towel and set in a warm place to rise.
  4. When the dough has risen to a big, puffy state (roughly double the size), bake at 375 F. for about 30 minutes or until the loaves are a deep golden brown on top and the loaves sound hollow inside when you thump them.
  5. Let the bread sit for about 5 – 10 minutes, then slice and serve with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream.

Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Cream

  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3/4 – 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have any on hand, here’s a quick recipe to make your own)
  • 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Let the cream cheese warm up a bit at room temperature, then in a small mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese with the rest of the ingredients until it’s all smooth and very well mixed. You can use a spoon or a mixer does the job quickly and gets the spread all nice and fluffy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Pumpkin Swirl Bread with Pumpkin Maple Mascarpone Spread

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sunday, Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowTasty TuesdayWonderful Food WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe LinkyShow & Share Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday , Full Plate Thursday and All my Bloggy Friends.


Cantaloupe Walnut Salad w Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

I went into the kitchen to get a cup of chai this morning. It was nearing lunchtime and when I reached into the fridge to grab the milk, the cantaloupe reached out to me. I came out of the kitchen with this salad. I got so caught up in the salad that I had to go back into the kitchen for the tea.

You must try this salad. It is pure simplicity to make, but tastes like heaven, especially if you can find yourself a really good juicy sweet cantaloupe. The sweet maple syrup with the mint and the tangy yogurt perfectly balance the juicy muskmelon and the crunch of the nuts. The mixed greens just round it all out, adding crunch, color, and variety.

Not to mention your body will love you for it. Every ingredient in this simple salad pitches in to help you feel energized and alive.

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Inspired by my Maple Mint Cantaloupe Lassi

  • Mixed greens
  • Fresh cantaloupe, cut into chunks
  • Toasted Walnuts
  • Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing (recipe below)

Mix up the dresssing. Fill your bowl most of the way with greens. Add a generous pile of cantaloupe chunks. Sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of toasted walnuts. Drizzle with the Maple Mint Yogurt dressing to your heart’s content. Garnish with fresh mint leaves or edible flowers if you like. Revel in the wonderful taste of this ultra simple salad.

Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing

  • 1/4  cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • About 1 Tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped fine

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients. Drizzle generously on the salad. Store any remaining dressing in a covered container in the fridge.

This recipe was shared at Newlyweds Recipe LinkyTastetastic Thursday, Fit & Fabulous Friday and Share it Saturday.


Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Basil

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

It’s a dreary, wet morning in South Dakota. Everything is very green and growing fast … I need to get out and pull weeds and tend my little garden. And I have some MORE grocery shopping to do … but first, I think we need a little color to brighten the day.  Just looking at these little toasts makes me happy.

This is a little fruit crostini I whipped up last week for a snack. I was very pleased with it overall, but I have to be honest with you, I didn’t like the french bread as the base for this little toast. I think it would be much better on blueberry bagels or maybe some sugar cookies or snickerdoodles? Something that goes better with the juicy fruit. But I do have to say the maple, ginger, and basil in the cream cheese is oooh so good. The fruit mixture is just perfect with the sweet creamy cheese. You could toss on some toasted nuts as well. I think that would be nice. I’m not sure why I left off the nuts … ah well, you get the idea.

If you are serving this at a party or get together (they’d be marvelous for a brunch, don’t you think?), rather than making them all up like this, you could also serve the bagels with the cream cheese and bowl of fruit on the side and let the guests do the work of putting them together. But if you’re making them for a big crowd, you’ll need to double or triple the recipe …

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Basil

  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • Blueberry bagels (or other fruity bagels), sliced & toasted (or sugar cookies or snickerdoodles … just please, don’t use French Bread like I did …)
  • 3 cups mixed fruit, chopped into little pieces (I used honeydew melon, blueberries, pineapple, and strawberries)
  • A few fresh basil leaves, for garnish
  • Toasted nuts, if you like. I think walnuts or pecans would be nice on these …

Mix the maple syrup, ginger and basil together. Take 2 Tablespoons of the syrup mixture and mix it in with the cream cheese. Mix the rest in with the fruit.

Toast the bagels, spread with the sweet ginger basil cream cheese, and top with fruit. (If you’re using cookies, I suppose there’s no need for toasting …)  Garnish with fresh basil leaves and a few toasted nuts (if you’ve decided you want nuts).

Maple Ginger Fruit Crostini with Fresh Basil

P.S. You might notice I added a watermark to my images … I will be doing that from now on, just because, well, they are my images and I work hard on them. I really love it when people share my pictures and recipes, but I don’t like it when people post my words and/or pictures as if they had taken / written them. If you like my photos or recipes, please share, but just mention that it’s from  Sumptuous Spoonfuls and give me a link back to my blog, okay? Thanks for understanding …

This recipe was shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsScrumptious SundaysWeekend Potluck, Moosewood Monday, Tuesday Talent Show and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

I am SOoooo into homemade granola! I love love love love LOVE it! Ideas for different granola flavors are bouncing around in my head like crazy. The idea for this tropical granola sprung from a peanut butter trail mix cookie I used to make with tropical trail mix (come to think of it, I need to make those cookies again sometime for the blog …)

But not today … nope no siree bob … Today it’s time for GRANOLA! The perfect sweet healthy snack to munch on when you need a little boost of energy. That wonderful crunchy mix that is so welcome sprinkled on yogurt … or in a bowl with fruit and milk.  This granola is chock full of tropical fruits, so you don’t need to even add any more fruit … unless, of course, you want to. It is awfully good with a couple fresh strawberries tossed in.

You are going to love this stuff. I just know it.

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

Dry ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup peanuts
  • 3/4 pecans
  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal or flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran or wheat germ
Wet ingredients:
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (optional … you can lower the amount of salt or leave it out for a low-sodium granola)
  • 1/4 cup honey
And then mix in …
  • 2 cups mixed dried tropical fruit pieces (pineapple, coconut, mango, banana chips, etc.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the oats, flax, wheat bran and nuts. Set aside.
  2. In a separate small bowl, mash the banana very well until it’s smooth (not too lumpy). Put the banana in a small saucepan with the maple syrup, and other wet ingredients. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is hot and bubbly. Stir in the honey and remove from heat.
  3. Pour the hot sweet sticky banana mixture over the nutty oat mixture in the bowl. Stir it all up until it’s well mixed.
  4. Spread all this wonderful stuff out into a thin layer on a large jellyroll pan (or other big flat baking pan with an edge to it). Set it in the oven and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. It should be browned to a lovely brown color and smelling fantastic. You can taste a little sample to see if it’s crunchy enough. If it’s not, bake it a little longer.
  5. Let the granola cool for a bit before stirring in the fruit. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for about a month or so. There’s NO way mine is going to last that long …

Tropical Trail Mix Granola

This recipe was shared on Totally Tasty Tuesdays and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Homemade Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

Homemade Maple Cranberry Pecan- Granola

I have long been fascinated with the idea of making my own granola. I don’t know why it took me so long to actually DO it. Suddenly several of my foodie friends are talking about it, so perhaps it was the power of suggestion? I don’t know. I just know that last week I suddenly felt a strong urge to make granola.

And I’m soooo glad I did. It is really quite simple to make and it just blows away the taste of store-bought granola, with the added bonus that you can control what goes into it. So it’s easy to make it healthier. This is so tasty, my parents and I munched on little handfuls of this granola all weekend. The first day I made it, I had three bowls of it with milk. The jar is disappearing quite quickly. (Which is exciting to me, because that means I get to try out my NEXT granola flavor! woo hoo!)

Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

Slightly adapted from ChinDeep.

  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened pearsauce (drain a can of pears and blend until smooth) or applesauce
  • 1/6 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 oz. dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a very large mixing bowl, mix oats, pecans, sunflower seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, flaxmeal and nutmeg.

In a small saucepan, warm the apple or pear sauce, maple syrup, honey and oil. Combine the wet mixture with the dry mixture until completely incorporated and everything is evenly mixed. Divide the granola between two large jellyroll pans. Bake for 45-55 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes until the granola is a deep golden brown. Remove from oven. Cool completely. Mix in dried cranberries. Store in an airtight container. Keeps up to one month. But it isn’t going to last that long …

Make your Own Maple Cranberry Pecan Granola

This recipe was shared at Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays and Tuesday Talent Shows.


Cranberry Habanero Chutney

Cranberry Habanero Chutney

My friend had an antelope roast to cook, and I suggested we make a cranberry roast, remembering one my sister made years ago for a Christmas dinner, but of course I didn’t have the recipe she used. So I googled it, found one I thought would be good, and emailed it to her. She cooked the roast for dinner on Friday night–we were invited to join them.

I noticed at the end of the recipe I had sent her, it said “serve with cranberry chutney” … hmm, cranberry chutney. And I happen to have some habanero jelly my other friend gave me … hmm … this sounds good.

This chutney was just perfect with the cranberry roast. I think it would also go well with beef, venison or pork. It’s also yummy spread on hot, fresh bread.

Cranberry Habanero Chutney

Cranberry Habanero Chutney

Adapted from Closet Cooking

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion (peeled and chopped)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger
  • 1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries
  • 1 apple (peeled, cored and diced)
  • 1/4 cup habanero jelly (or other pepper jelly)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (finely diced–optional. Depends on how hot you like it! You may want to see how hot it is with the pepper jelly first, than add jalapeno to taste.)
  • 1/2 cup cranberry-raspberry vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

Directions:

  1. Put onion, garlic, and candied ginger in a handi chopper or food processor and chop into tiny bits.
  2. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan, add remaining ingredients and cook on medium high heat for about 20 – 30 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Store in the refrigerator.

Cranberry Habanero Chutney

This recipe was shared at Trick or Treat Tuesdays and Tastetastic Thursdays.


Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

with Toasted Pecans

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Bars with Toasted Pecans

Now if you ask me, THIS is the way to eat your oatmeal.

When I saw these gorgeous bars that Kay from And Then I Ate It shared, I stashed away the recipe because I knew right then and there that I wanted to make them. I just needed to find a time to make them.

Today was the day. This is gonna be my breakfast every day this week … well, that is, if they last that long.

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Bars with Toasted Pecans

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Bars with Toasted Pecans

Adapted from And Then I Ate It! I made quite a few changes … just can’t leave a recipe alone!

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups oatmeal (any type is fine)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pecans, toasted
  • ¼ cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter until pale yellow. Add sugar and beat until well blended. Add the egg, maple syrup and yogurt and beat until fully incorporated. I used my beaters to get them mixed fully because the yogurt and the butter were being persnickety.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix only until they are combined.
  4. Add the oatmeal, cranberries, nuts and chocolate chips and fold in uniformly. (I use cashew pieces since they are about 1/3 of the price of whole cashews)
  5. Add the thick batter evenly to a well sprayed 9 x 9 inch pan (she used a 7” x 11” pan, but I don’t have a pan that size …).
  6. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. It should still be soft to the touch but firm enough to be cook.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes. (The wait will kill you! They smell soooo good!) With a sharp knife cut into bars. You may need to wipe the blade to get clean cuts. Remove bars from pan and store in an air tight container.

Cranberry White Chocolate Oatmeal Bars with Toasted Pecans

This recipe has been shared at Tuesday Talent ShowTotally Tasty TuesdaysTastetastic Thursdays, and Full Plate Thursdays.


Pomegranate Walnut Salad with Maple Cranberry Vinaigrette

Pomegranate Walnut Salad with dried cranberries, apricots, mixed cheeses and Maple Cranberry Vinaigrette

Pomegranates are so beautiful. I’ve been entranced with them since I studied Greek mythology way back in junior high school.

Then when we lived in California, our neighbors had a pomegranate tree … one long branch of the tree stretched into our yard and that one branch always gave us plenty of pomegranates. Not that it really mattered, because the neighbors let us go into their yard and pick pomegranates whenever we wanted. My kids used to sell pomegranates like some kids sell lemonade. The neighbors loved it.

When you open up a pomegranate, it is full of all these gorgeous little jewels; it looks like a treasure chest to me. And the taste of the little jewels when you bite into one … oh my.

If you want to make this salad, you will first need to make the Cranberry Raspberry Vinegar, and that takes about a week … just giving you fair warning. You could do some clever substitutions, perhaps, but the jewel-toned vinegar with the little pomegranate jewels in the salad is really quite nice.

Pomegranate Walnut Salad with Mixed Cheeses and Maple Cranberry Vinaigrette

Pomegranate Walnut Salad with Maple Cranberry Vinaigrette

with Dried Cranberries, Apricots and Mixed Cheeses

  • Organic Herb Mix (or mixed greens)
  • Pomegranate Seeds
  • Shards of Parmesan Cheese (cut very thin slices off the edge of a hunk of parmesan)
  • Toasted Walnuts, chopped roughly
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Chopped dried Apricots
  • Blue cheese crumbles

First make the dressing and let it set to mix the flavors while you prepare the salad.

Fill the salad bowl 3/4 full with the organic herb mix, and sprinkle with remaining ingredients as you please. Drizzle with Maple Cranberry Vinaigrette.

Maple Cranberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing

  • 3/4 cup cranberry raspberry vinegar (recipe here)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon strawberry or raspberry jam
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon, Spicy Brown or other fancy mustard (I used garlic peppercorn mustard)
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard seed
  • A couple of basil leaves, a small sprig of rosemary, and several sprigs of fresh dill weed

Mix all ingredients together in a handi chopper and whir until the herbs and garlic are well chopped and everything is mixed well. Refrigerate any of the remaining dressing.

Pomegranate Walnut Salad with dried cranberries, apricots, mixed cheeses and Maple Cranberry Vinaigrette

This recipe was shared at Midnight Maniac Meatless MondaysTotally Tasty Tuesdays, and Full Plate Thursdays.


Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal with Peanut Butter & Sliced Almonds

This is a warm, sweet, spicy bowl of autumn comfort.

My friend Russ made a wish the other day … he was wishing for a Pumpkin Raisin Oatmeal. Well, I can’t let a wish like that go by without granting it! (Did you know I have wish-granting powers? Yes, I am a virtual food fairy ♥)

This makes an Ann-size portion (if you know me, you know that I am small and I eat very small portions!), but I used easy proportions so you can easily scale it up to your own portion size — or to make oatmeal for a crowd! Just use equal portions of oatmeal, water, milk, and pumpkin puree, then add your spices and mix-ins to taste

This pumpkin-infused oatmeal goes oh so well with a cup of Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

  • 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup milk (Any kind. I used 1%, but soy, almond or coconut milk would work fine too.)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (if you don’t have any, here’s a recipe)
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • dash of salt
  • brown sugar (or your choice of sweetener), to taste

Options for Mix-ins:

  • A teaspoon of peanut butter or almond butter (or maybe Nutella?)
  • Sliced almonds, chopped walnuts or pecans — I highly recommend toasting your nuts before adding them. They are SO much better when toasted!
  • Raisins, dried cranberries, chopped dates or chopped, dried apricots
  • Chopped apple
  • Chocolate or white chocolate chips?

Directions:

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl except for the brown sugar and stir to mix. (If you are using chopped apples as a mix-in and you want them cooked, you may want to add them at the beginning. Cooking time will be a little longer if you include apples.)
  2. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes or until the oatmeal is done to your liking.
  3. Sweeten to taste and add your choice of mix-ins. I added a small spoonful of peanut butter and sliced almonds this morning.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal with Peanut butter & Almond slices

This recipe was shared at Favorite Breakfast Recipes and Gooseberry Patch Comfort Foods.


Luscious Maple Amaretto Pumpkin Roll

Light and Fluffy Pumpkin Roll

The memory of the Amaretto Pumpkin Bread Pudding I made a while ago is still haunting me, so I just couldn’t help but carry those luscious flavors over into my pumpkin roll.

I have been wanting to make a pumpkin roll forever, it seems. I’ve been reading about how to do it, and enviously watching other food bloggers write about their lovely pumpkin rolls …

What was holding me back? I didn’t have the right pan. So last weekend I went and bought one. $8.99 at Target. Really? All this time I was just $9 from making pumpkin rolls and chocolate rolls and and and … well you can just imagine all the fun I will have with this thing now! I feel so liberated, like a whole new world has opened up before me …

It’s the little things in life, I tell you.

Maple Amaretto Pumpkin Roll

Light and Fluffy Maple Amaretto Pumpkin Roll

The cake part of this recipe is roughly adapted from Libby’s Pumpkin Roll. The filling is my own creation.

For the cake:

  •  powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup + 2 T. brown sugar
  • 2 T. Amaretto
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (recipe here)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Filling:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package light cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup maple amaretto whipped cream (recipe below … or if you prefer, use purchased whipped cream and add a little more pumpkin pie spice to the filling)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spray a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray; line with wax paper, then spray the waxed paper liberally with cooking spray.
  3. Sprinkle a large clean towel with powdered sugar. It’s apparently important what kind of towel you use–find one that does not have many “fuzzies” on it. I used a flour sack-type kitchen towel.
  4.  Beat eggs and sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin.
  5. Add the flours, baking powder, baking soda, spice, amaretto and salt and stir till the batter is smooth.
  6. Spread evenly into prepared pan.
  7. BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched.
  8. Immediately loosen and turn cake onto the prepared towel. Carefully peel off waxed paper.Peeling off the waxed paper
  9. While the cake is still hot, roll up the cake and towel together. I rolled it lengthwise, but I think the recipe said to roll it up the other way. Ooops! You would certainly get more of a swirl if you roll it the other way, but then the portions would be a lot larger. I think it’s kind of nice to have a smaller portion size. All rolled up!
  10. Let the cake cool completely, all wrapped up in its own little blanket.
  11. While the cake is cooling, prepare the filling. Beat all the filling ingredients except the maple amaretto whipped cream with a mixer in a medium bowl until smooth and fluffy. Fold in the whipped cream.
  12. Set out a piece of plastic wrap cut big enough to wrap the roll in.
  13. Carefully unroll cake, remove the towel and set the cake on the plastic wrap.
  14. Spread the cream cheese filling over cake.Spread the filling all over the cake
  15. Reroll the cake the same way it was rolled up in the towel. The cake will “remember” the way it was rolled while it was cooling. Rolling up the pumpkin roll with the filling
  16. Wrap your beautiful roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour–or freeze. All rolled up and ready to wrap!

I’m freezing my pumpkin roll so I can take it to Thanksgiving Dinner. I’ve heard then you just take it out of the freezer about an hour before you want to serve it. From what I have read, it is also easier to slice while it’s still frozen–I found it a little hard to saw through when it was frozen solid, so I think you should let it thaw part-way, then cut it.

I’m trying a piece today for breakfast … you know, just to make sure it’s not poison.  ;) You might notice I couldn’t quite wait till it thawed out.

Eating the Maple Amaretto Pumpkin Roll

Maple Amaretto Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • 1/8 c. maple syrup
  • 1/8 t. pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 2 t. amaretto
In a bowl, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the maple syrup, pumpkin pie seasoning and amaretto and whip a little more. I don’t like my whipped cream too sweet, so if you want more flavor or sweetness, add a little more syrup, amaretto, and/or seasoning. This will make more than enough whipped cream for this recipe … use the rest to top your pumpkin pie, or your bread pudding, or your apple crisp, or whatever you think it would go well on. It keeps quite a while in the fridge. If you store it for a while and pull it out and find it went all flat and runny on you, just rejuvenate it by whipping it up with your mixer again!

Michael’s Maple Walnut Cranberry Sauce

Michael's Maple Walnut Cranberry Sauce

I remember those awful jellied cans of cranberry sauce would find their way to our Thanksgiving table sometimes in my childhood, and I remember loving the sweet tart taste of the cranberries, but the jellied stuff was just so ugly and weird. I think we all eventually decided we just don’t like cranberry sauce because we don’t usually have cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving anymore.

But this year will be different. I remembered this cranberry sauce that Michael, an old boyfriend of mine, made one year when I lived far from my family. We were having Thanksgiving dinner in his apartment with his roommate. Michael worked at a French restaurant and was a total foodie. I told him I didn’t like cranberry sauce, but he said you will like THIS cranberry sauce. And I loved it.

So this year, I am making Michael’s maple cranberry sauce. He didn’t give me his recipe, but I think this is pretty close. I think my family will like THIS cranberry sauce.

Actually I hope they don’t like it TOO much because I saw a gorgeous and super simple appetizer idea made with cranberry sauce that I want to try: Just take a block of (light) cream cheese, put it on a fancy dish, and pour cranberry sauce over it. Serve with crackers. I have decided I will stir in a few chopped jalapenos into the sauce before I pour it over the cream cheese to give it a little kick. I have big plans for this cranberry sauce.

Michael's Maple Walnut Cranberry Sauce

Michael’s Maple Cranberry Sauce with Toasted Walnuts

Adapted from About.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12 ounces) package fresh cranberries, washed and picked over
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup red Zinfandel or other dry red wine (I used some of my dad’s California Trinity Red wine.)
  • 2 teaspoons ginger sugar (the reserved sugar from making candied ginger) or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup walnut halves, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Place cranberries, maple syrup, juice, wine, and ginger sugar in a heavy saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 10 minutes, until cranberries begin to pop.
  3. Skim off any foam that rises to the top.
  4. Remove from heat and gently smash a bit to open the cranberries, but do not mash.
  5. Toast the walnuts by spreading them in a single layer on a baking sheet and baking for about 5 minutes at 300 F. or until they are just lightly browned and you can smell the scent of the walnuts.
  6. Stir in walnuts and vanilla. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Maple Walnut Cranberry Sauce

Look at that gorgeous color! (And yes, in case you were wondering, that IS snow on the table. We had our first snow last night.)

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth Mondays.


Brandied Pumpkin Maple Spice Ice Cream

Brandied Pumpkin Maple Spice Ice Cream

I know it might seem a little odd to be making ice cream in the fall when the weather is starting to get chilly, but think about it. This is the time of year when people are baking pies and apple crisp and don’t you always want a scoop of ice cream on top? Why use plain old vanilla ice cream when you can have something much more exciting?

Brandied Pumpkin Maple Spice Ice Cream

Brandied Pumpkin Maple Spice Ice Cream

I think next time I make this, I will use some whipping cream in place of the fat free half & half to get a more creamy texture. The flavor was amazing, the texture could have been a bit creamier.

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. fat-free half & half
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • Several pieces of candied ginger (I think I used 5 pieces.)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 c. of cooked pumpkin or butternut squash puree
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/4 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. cardamom
  • 1/8 c. maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. brandy …  (Optional, but if you leave out the alcohol, the ice cream will get much harder in the freezer. The alcohol keeps it from freezing too hard.)

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, mix half & half, buttermilk & brown sugar. Add the candied ginger. Heat, stirring frequently, until small bubbles form at the edge of the pan.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with a whisk or mixer until frothy.
  3. Slowly drizzle a stream of the hot cream mixture (about 1 cup of it) into the egg, whisking or beating constantly.
  4. Gradually add the egg mixture back into the remaining hot cream mixture in the saucepan, whisking as you go.
  5. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens slightly and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon–roughly 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, transfer into a glass jar and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled–at least 2 hours.
  7. Meanwhile, stir together the pumpkin or butternut squash in a bowl with the spices, vanilla, maple syrup and the brandy till smooth. If there are any chunks in the squash, run it through a blender, food processor, or handi chopper to get a smooth mixture.
  8. Once the cream mixture is cool, pull it out of the fridge and strain out and discard the candied ginger chunks.
  9. Mix together the pureed pumpkin mixture with the cooled cream mixture till they are well blended.
  10. Freeze in your ice cream maker till good and frozen. With my little Cuisinart ice cream maker, it takes about 20 minutes.

Use this ice cream atop your favorite pie or autumn dessert …  or by itself, drizzled with a little maple syrup, caramel sauce or sprinkled with a bit of chopped candied ginger. But today I’m enjoying my ice cream “plain”, just like this and it’s delicious … it has enough depth of flavor to be an elegant dessert all by itself.

Brandied Pumpkin Maple Spice Ice Cream


Amaretto Pumpkin Bread Pudding

with Maple Amaretto Whipped Cream

Amaretto Pumpkin Bread Pudding

I love bread pudding, partly because my mother used to make it for us when we were kids but also because it is transformational.

It transforms old crusty unwanted bread into a warm, elegant, soft and comforting dessert or breakfast.

So appropriate for fall when the world is in a state of transformation. Summer is retreating and winter is on her way. The trees are transforming from their summer selves into their winter state of sleep. My son says the display of color on the trees is their way of saying goodnight. I like that thought.

Autumn leaves: the trees are saying goodnight

It all parallels the transformations occurring in our lives. My daughter is transforming from a girl to a young lady, my son is beginning his transformation from teenage life to adult-hood, and me? I am in the process of discovering myself. I got divorced a couple years ago, and it was very painful, but it didn’t take me long to realize that it was the right thing for all of us. I mourned the death of that relationship, then I rejoiced as I re-discovered pieces of myself I had locked away. And I began my transformation. Sometimes I feel like I just want to settle into a relationship again. I get frustrated that I can’t seem to find someone to love, but I noticed that with each new man I date, I learn something new about myself. I feel a bit like a butterfly trying out my new wings.

Pumpkin Amaretto Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Amaretto Bread Pudding

Amaretto: An Italian amber-colored liqueur with an almondlike flavor, although it is actually flavored with apricot kernels; it was originally made in Saronno and called Amaretto di Saronno. (A little info I got from my friend at Delicacies by Dan)

Inspired by: Eat Drink and Be Merry’s Pumpkin Pecan Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

  • Crusty or old Bread, cubed and toasted (about 4 cups of bread cubes)
Pumpkin mixture:
  • 1 c. fat free half and half
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1/8 c. amaretto
  • 1 t. pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. pumpkin (canned or cooked)
  • 1 t. vanilla
Topping:
  • 1/4 c. toasted pecans
  • 1/8 c. maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and place on a baking sheet to toast lightly, about 5 minutes or so.
  2. Spray a small casserole dish with cooking spray and place the toasted bread cubes in the casserole dish.
  3. Whisk the wet ingredients (half and half through vanilla) in a bowl until fully mixed.
  4. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the bread in the casserole and fold gently to coat the bread. Let sit for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Sprinkle the top of the pudding with toasted pecans and drizzle with the maple syrup.
  6. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until the pudding is set. It should spring back when you press lightly into the top.  Let cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Serve warm. Drizzle with maple syrup and top with homemade whipped cream (see below)

Maple Amaretto Whipped Cream

  • 1/2 pint of whipping cream
  • 1/8 c. maple syrup
  • 1/8 t. pumpkin pie seasoning
  • 2 t. amaretto
In a bowl, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the maple syrup, pumpkin pie seasoning and amaretto and whip a little more. I don’t like my whipped cream too sweet, so if you want more flavor or sweetness, add a little more syrup, amaretto, and/or seasoning.
Amaretto Pumpkin Bread Pudding
This recipe was featured on Deelicious Sweets Pumpkin Blog Hop Week 3.

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